lunes, 20 de agosto de 2012

UK design industry

In this new installment from the Foreign Office short film series, See Britain through my eyes, French designer Sebastien Noel and German designers Conny Freyer and Eva Rucki discuss the characteristics of the UK design industry.

This is not an easy clip to understand, because some of the speakers have a heavy foreign accent, so the film is just suitable for strong intermediate students.

Self-study activity:
Watch the film and say whether the statements below are true or false.

1 Sebastian did a postgradute course in Italy.
2 Conny set up a studio while still at college.
3 English clients prefer experienced artists.
4 The sculpture they created for British Airways is 5x2x1
5 This sculpture is inspired in the displays airports used to have to give information.
6 Sebastian, Conny and Eva have designed UK's Expo pavilion in Shanghai.
7 They designed a plant that they called 'The Self -Killing Plant'.
8 Britain has a long tradition for innovation, and new things, and taking risks.

You can read the transcript here.
My name is Sebastien Noel. I'm one of the three founding directors of Troika together with Conny Freyer and Eva Rucki.
Troika is an art and design studio based in London.
I'm from France. The two other are from Germany.
And this is "See Britain Through Troika's Eyes".
I was originally working in Italy and very soon I felt the need to go and do a postgraduate in design. And I guess I chose to come in here in England because you have the Royal College of Art, which was one of the best schools in Europe.
Already during college time we had worked together quite a lot. So, I decided to set up a studio a year after leaving the college.
I think in general, clients in the UK are quite happy to take well comparably quite large risks like commissioning people coming out of their degree.
For British Airways we created a five - meter long sculpture, two - meter wide, one meter tall that is suspended in the first class interior in Terminal Five, Heathrow. It is covered with 5,000 little mirrors like that, that can flip from one side to the other so we can animate the whole skin of the sculpture. This is what was used in old train stations and airports to display information and go. We're kind of re - exploring an older technology and see what kind of identity it could have over a more conventional technique.
We use play, humor, provocation, they're all sort of essential elements to our work.
We were commissioned to create the exhibition content for the UK Expo Pavilion in Shanghai. Thomas Heatherwick designed the pavilion, we designed three large-scale installations that form part of the exhibition. So, the last installation describes how plants can help us to live a more sustainable life in cities. So, we designed a plant that we then called 'The Self - Eating Plant' that constantly regenerates itself but destroys itself, eats itself and creates oil. And those fictional, futuristic plants are telling specific stories that were inspired by current UK research.
I think Britain has a long history in approaching the world in a very open way and has traveled a lot in the last hundreds of years bringing back certain influences from other countries into Britain and this has continued now. So, I think that there is almost a naturally grown attitude towards new things to have a culture of innovation and testing and going out and searching for new things in Britain. So, anything that really has to do with exploration and innovation, that culture is really developed here and that has, that needs an openness towards risk – taking and a willingness to explore new grounds.
And I think you can really find that here. A client who is willing to take the risk and an audience who enables you to do risky projects.
People from other countries come and search for that and seek that. This is also the experience we have now, working internationally. People come and give us like carte blanche to do something, which is great.

1 F (in England, he just started working in Italy)
2 F (a year after he finished college)
3 F (doesn't really say, but Eva says English customers take risks with recent graduates)
4 T (five meter long, two meters wide and one metre tall)
5 T
6 F (they have just designed the three large-scale installations that form part of the exhibition)
7 F ('The Self - Eating Plant' )
8 T